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Law School Interviews 2023-24: The Complete Guide

Law Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

Introduction

Contrary to popular belief, most UK law schools do not require interviews as part of their admissions process. However, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are exceptions to this rule. Both institutions have a rigorous interview process designed to assess not just an applicant’s knowledge but also their analytical and critical thinking skills. This article delves into the interview processes at Oxford and Cambridge, providing prospective law students with insights into what to expect, as well as covering the broader admissions process for Law in the UK.

University of Oxford

Interview Structure and Format
At Oxford, applicants are usually invited to a specific college for their interviews. It is common to have two interviews at the initial college and potentially a third at a different college. The interviews are not designed to test current legal knowledge but focus on legally related questions and intellectual logic puzzles. In some instances, candidates may be given an extract of a legal document to read and discuss during the interview.

Dates and Communication
The Oxford Law interviews for 2024 entry are expected to take place in early December. Communication about second interviews usually occurs within the same week as the first set of interviews

Assessment Criteria
The interviews assess how well candidates can learn from new information and test their logical thinking skills. Candidates are not required to have any prior knowledge of the law.

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University of Cambridge

Interview Structure and Format
Similar to Oxford, Cambridge also invites successful UCAS applicants for interviews, usually held in early December. The number and format of interviews can vary depending on the college handling your application. The interviews aim to assess your ability to form and defend logical arguments and to adapt your views in light of new information.

Assessment Criteria
Cambridge interviews do not require any prior legal knowledge. The focus is on the applicant’s analytical skills, capacity to interpret text, and ability to discuss broad policy questions.

Exceptional Circumstances for Law School Interviews in the UK

While Oxbridge remains the most prominent example of UK law schools requiring interviews, other universities may also conduct interviews under exceptional circumstances. These circumstances often arise when the competition for places is particularly fierce, necessitating an additional layer of scrutiny to differentiate between candidates. The interviews are not merely a formality but are integrated into a comprehensive admissions process that considers various factors such as predicted grades, GCSE grades, personal statements, and references.

In particular, the following universities are known to interview:

Bristol
Bristol interviews if you apply with non-standard qualifications, and also interviews all mature students.. The interview will be conducted by at least two people, and one of them will have been trained in ‘fair and effective recruitment techniques.’

Dates are set by the university and are not public knowledge.

UCL
UCL will typically only interview those who have applied to LLB Law with a European Legal System degree programme. The interview is therefore typically more a modern language test than a test of your legal ability, although your motivation for law and the program will also be tested. Dates are provided to students who follow this pathway.

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The Typical Application and Assessment Process for Law in the UK

The UCAS Application

The journey to studying law in the UK typically begins with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application. This centralised system allows prospective students to apply to up to five courses at different universities. The application requires several key components: a personal statement, academic transcripts, and references.

The personal statement is a pivotal component of the UCAS application and serves as the applicant’s first opportunity to make a lasting impression. Given the competitive nature of law courses in the UK, a well-crafted personal statement can be the difference between receiving an offer and facing rejection. The content should be meticulously planned to cover key areas such as your passion for law, relevant experiences, and career aspirations. It’s advisable to start with an engaging introduction that captures the reader’s attention. Following this, delve into your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any work experience that demonstrates your suitability for a law degree. Make sure to link these experiences to the skills they have helped you develop, such as analytical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication.

Authenticity is crucial; admissions tutors can easily spot generic or insincere statements. Be specific about what attracts you to law and to the particular universities you are applying to. If possible, mention any courses, lectures, or legal cases that have sparked your interest. This not only shows that you have done your homework but also that you are genuinely interested in the subject.

Beyond the personal statement, academic transcripts and references provide a quantitative measure of an applicant’s suitability for rigorous legal study.

Entrance Exams and Additional Assessments

For many aspiring law students in the UK, the application process extends beyond the UCAS form to include additional assessments. The most common of these is the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT), a requirement for several top-tier universities such as Oxford, UCL, Durham, King’s College London, the University of Glasgow and Nottingham. The LNAT is not a test of legal knowledge but rather an evaluation of critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. It comprises two main sections: multiple-choice questions and an essay.

The test aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of an applicant’s abilities, complementing the academic grades and personal statement submitted through UCAS. Some universities may also request subject-specific tests or written work as part of their admissions criteria. These assessments serve as an additional layer of scrutiny, helping universities to identify the most promising candidates from an increasingly competitive applicant pool.

Offers, Interviews, and Final Selection

Once the UCAS application and any additional assessments are complete, universities will start making conditional or unconditional offers. A conditional offer usually depends on the applicant achieving certain A-Level or equivalent grades. At this stage, as previously discussed, interviews are generally not a standard part of the law school admissions process in the UK, except for Oxbridge and under exceptional circumstances at other universities. However, some institutions may invite applicants for interviews to assess their suitability further, especially when the competition is high. These interviews can range from formal academic discussions to competency-based interviews, assessing both the applicant’s knowledge and soft skills like communication and problem-solving. You should make use of a question bank to ensure that you’re ready for all domains.

Conclusion

In summary, the typical application and assessment process for law in the UK is a multi-faceted journey that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. From the initial UCAS application to potential additional assessments and the rare but impactful interviews, each stage serves as a hurdle designed to select the most suitable candidates for the competitive and demanding field of law. With the increasing number of applicants each year, understanding and successfully navigating this process is crucial for aspiring law students.

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